THE BIG MATCH

Brighton and Hove Albion are leading the way in the npower Championship and they are up against Birmingham City this weekend.

While the Seagulls have enjoyed a good start to the 2012/13 season, collecting 16 points from the opening seven matches, Birmingham have struggled somewhat.

After failing to win in their opening three matches, Lee Clark's men picked up seven points from the following three games, before being beaten 5-0 at home to Barnsley in front of the Sky Sports cameras last time out.

Clark is undoubtedly looking for a reaction from his men but he knows it will be a tough afternoon in Sussex.

"We can't affect the past, and that's what it is, but we can affect the future. Certainly the training on Tuesday and the belief that the lads showed and the spirit was back," the 39-year-old explained on www.bcfc.co.uk.

"Whatever the result was against Barnsley, whether we had won, drawn or had that shocking defeat, this was always going to be a tough game [against Brighton] so we've got to make sure we're right up for it.

"Brighton have done fantastically. The club has gone from strength to strength with a new stadium and the people that run the club are good and I know them very well. They're very impressive but we've got to go there and affect the game."

Gus Poyet's men are the division's form side, having won their last five matches, and will certainly be full of confidence come kick-off time on Saturday. The Seagulls are yet to lose on home soil, and have conceded just one goal in the three matches they have played at the Amex Stadium so far this season.

The boss has been concentrating fully on his own side going into the fixture, ignoring the form of the out-of-sorts Blues.

"It's going to be a very tricky game. It's a game where we need to concentrate on us. We cannot pay much attention to what they have done in the last three weeks because we may make a mistake," the Uruguayan told www.seagulls.co.uk.

"We need to respect them, knowing the quality of players they have got, they've got experience in the team, strength, so we need to make sure we are at our best.

"I cannot base anything on what happened to them on Saturday [against Barnsley] because that was an accident for them. If I think about them too much I will stop focusing on my team. This is an important part of my job as manager."

In the team news, the Blues may be without striker Marlon King and midfielder Hayden Mullins who are both doubtful, while Craig Mackail-Smith is likely to miss the game for Brighton after limping off against Millwall with a hamstring injury.

KEEP AN EYE ON

Cardiff City and Blackpool have both enjoyed a steady start, sitting seventh and fourth respectively, separated by a single point, and they meet in the Welsh capital on Saturday.

The travelling Tangerines were the early frontrunners in the division but have fell away recently having collected just one win in the last four.

Their latest result was a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Huddersfield Town and defender Alex Baptiste says the players are determined to bounce back and re-discover the form that saw them pick up three wins in the first three games, including a 6-0 hammering of Ipswich Town.

"We got sucked into their [Huddersfield's] game and they didn't really have many chances, apart from the set-pieces that killed us just before and just after half-time," Baptiste told www.blackpooolfc.co.uk, "we've now studied it and there are a lot of things we need to work on.

"If we play the way we play then there's no team in the League that can stop us, we just need reminders every now and then. There's a lot of things that we need to put right and we're going to do that against Cardiff.

"They've got a fantastic squad with some world class players so it's going to be tough. We need to apply ourselves and play our way."

Malky Mackay's men come into the match with Blackpool after losing 3-2 to Crystal Palace last time out.

The Bluebirds looked set for a comfortable victory at Selhurst Park, after racing into a two-goal lead, but a Glenn Murray hat-trick sealed the three points for the Eagles.

"We scored two good goals, had two or three other good chances, and could have gone three-up before half-time," the 40-year-old told Cardiff City Player.

"There's not that much I need to tinker with, we've worked hard this week and we know we have a tough game coming up against Blackpool.

"It's always more favourable if you can play in front of your home crowd on your own pitch, it's where the boys feel comfortable. Our supporters have been nothing short of magnificent in the way they have turned out and the backing they have given the team, even on days when we have been beaten.

"Certainly so far this season, I look at the last couple of weeks - the Leeds game and the Wolves game - the fans were fantastic and the atmosphere was great, playing against two big club. This will be another tough one on Saturday against Blackpool, who are probably seen as big favourites for the division this year."

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

Peterborough United will continue the search for their first points of the season as they travel to Hull City, who have won all three of their home games to date.

The Posh have endured a torrid start to the campaign and will be in for another tough afternoon against the Tigers, who will want to bounce back from their away defeat against Leicester City last time out.

The Foxes will be eager to build on that win and they are on the road to face Tony Mowbray's Middlesbrough this weekend.

Boro, who are on the fringes of the Play-Off places in the npower Championship, will be without winger Mustapha Carayol after it was revealed he will be sidelined for four months with a knee injury that he picked up in their victory over npower League 2 side Gillingham in the Capital One Cup.

Huddersfield Town may be new to the division this term but they are unbeaten since an opening-day defeat to Cardiff City, and climbed up to second spot following their most recent victory, against Blackpool.

This weekend, the Terriers have a home match against struggling Watford, who have lost three of their last four and sit 20th.

Elsewhere, Barnsley will want to build on their aforementioned 5-0 mauling of Birmingham City when they host lowly Ipswich Town. The Tractor Boys currently sit one place off the bottom after losing their last three matches.

Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall are also on a run of poor form with a string of recent defeats, and they are on the road to face Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley respectively.

Leeds United are fresh off the back of a Capital One Cup scalp, after beating Everton 2-1 on Tuesday, and they visit Bristol City. Neil Warnock's men certainly have history on their side in this fixture - Leeds have won their last four meetings with the Robins.

The remaining fixtures on Saturday see Bolton Wanderers host Crystal Palace and Blackburn Rovers visit Charlton Athletic.

On Sunday, there's an East Midlands derby as Nottingham Forest meet Derby County in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Expect an exciting game - there has been a red card in this fixture the last three occasions and in the most recent tie, back in March, County scored a last-gasp winner.

Click here for all the weekend's action